More and more young people confuse the concepts of marriage and wedding celebration. Many believe that getting married is
just a formality, moreover, expensive.
But how did we get to this point? And what role does the media have or can
have in respect to this phenomenon?
The following are some reflections on the subject.
Marriage and sobriety
Once I found myself in a marriage Mass without knowing it.
There were no flowers, the bride was dressed in white, and there was no car
decorated with tassels.
I discovered that I was at a wedding ceremony only when the priest said:
“Today we celebrate the union of a couple, who accepted my invitation to
appreciate simple things…”
Then he explained that the two had come to him to ask for the baptism for
their second child, being still just a couple living together. When asked
why they did not get married, they replied that the marriage was too
The priest then confirmed: “Of course, I understand, it is very expensive
to promise fidelity for a lifetime…”
“No,” they replied, “we are already trying to live faithfully, to support
each other with patience… it’s the cost on an economic level!”
“The cost on an economic level?” – he objected – “Look, I’ll marry you for
So he had
the opportunity to explain to them the difference between marriage and
… and they agreed to get married without spending a penny.
The gratuitousness of love
“This couple has chosen to receive the most important part, has understood
the essence of marriage, and today is here to receive the seal of the Holy
Spirit. That’s free: the love of God does not cost anything. Everything
else is an extra component, all the rest is tradition”, the priest
specified during the homily.
That celebration made me reflect on the confusion that often exists between
a marriage and wedding.
And I questioned how we could have arrived at that point.
When there is no line that separates the engagement from the
Often, today, at least in Western countries, there is little difference
between a “before” and an “after” marriage: one almost always chooses to
start a life together by living together, therefore already living as
though husband and wife, without it being marriage and often they will
continue in that state without changing things.
As Prof. Héctor Franceschi rightly pointed out in a conference, which we
mentioned in the article
Is it worth to marry?,
fewer and fewer young people seek out marriage. Why young people consider
If there is no longer the purpose of living in chastity during the period
preceding the nuptials and of living in different places until one becomes
a husband and wife, one breaks the boundary line between two distinct
moments: that of dating (or engagement) and that of reciprocal, definitive
So then what is marriage? At times, just a beautiful party
If you lose sight of the essence of marriage, the risk is that the wedding
day is seen only as a time of celebration, after which, substantially,
I still remember a conversation I had with a girl. She was living with
someone and was thinking of getting married. She told me: “I would like to
get married. So, what’s the difference if I live together with someone or
get married? If things go wrong, there’s a divorce…”
For her, marriage was just a beautiful celebration.
Getting married did not add anything to, nor take away anything from her
There are always more and more couples that go for a civil or religious
marriage together with their children, with a family life already in
After the nuptials, everything returns to normal, except now a ring is worn
on a finger.
Obviously, this does not apply to all: there are couples for whom
cohabitation and marriage are two different conditions of life: the first
provisional, the second definitive.
Some, after getting married, feel that something has changed – that the
union has received a seal, that an important step has taken place and the
relationship has become stronger.
Let’s go back, however, to the danger of getting married only for the
celebration, which grows exponentially.
What role can the media play?
The means of communication have some responsibility
. Are they complicit with this phenomenon?
The answer was that they
do not help to clarify the difference between marriage and the wedding
, on the contrary, they sometimes increase the confusion.
The programs that talk about nuptials – of famous people, but also of
ordinary people – are quite popular on TV.
There are channels dedicated almost totally to the various aspects related
to the “matrimony preparation.” Unfortunately, however, they speak of
everything other than marriage as a story, the commitment that we assume,
the consequences of an oath that claims to re-echo for all eternity.
We can find programs dedicated to the perfect dress choice, budget
management to have a beautiful celebration, programs where you can also win
a honeymoon… but love is hardly talked about. There are still programs
that talk about infidelity, presenting it as a natural temptation of little
importance, a small road bump that can show up in any couple’s life. These
are programs that not only do not speak of love, but also are even
misleading and give a bad example.
To really talk about marriage: a challenge for TV producers
Addressing serious topics on TV is not easy: television is not for serious thinking, it is mostly for entertainment
It is also true, however, that a professional who works in this sector can
set himself the goal of making people think without putting pressure on
them; to deal with serious matters, without boring them.
Why not try to tell something about marriage… seriously,
It is not a matter of eliminating everything that enriches the celebration,
but of remembering, through the narration of stories, anecdotes, etc., that
there are essential things and additional things and the latter, if there
is no longer a marriage, don’t do any good.
However, if you want, you can ask this together with us.
A true artist does not remain on the surface level
Dear TV producers, if you offer an alternative to the public, if you start
proposing programs that at the center have the love that pushes two people
to promise eternal fidelity, most likely you will have audience, because
you will be taken into the hearts of many people.
Certainly, it is more difficult to find and tell true love stories than to
show the clothes of a shop, but art, when it is true art, manages to make
visible the invisible, tangible that which is immaterial.
An artist knows how to enter the mystery of love; he does
not remain only on the surface level.
And this is what we ask of you : not to be moralists, but to offer us true art.